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Unintentional Injury is the Leading Cause of Death for Kids in the U.S.

Categories: Other Physical Injuries

By Arthur D. Leritz. Posted on .

The CDC recently came out with a study that found that unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for kids aged 1-19 years. [1]  The CDC analyzed mortality data from 2000 – 2009 from the National Vital Statistics System by age group, sex, race/ethnicity, injury mechanism and state.  The study contained data that is both alarming and encouraging:

  • From 2000 to 2009, the overall annual unintentional injury death rate decreased 29%
  • The rate decreased among all age groups except newborns and infants aged <1 year; in this age group, rates increased from 23.1 to 27.7 per 100,000 primarily as a result of an increase in reported suffocations
  • The poisoning death rate among teens aged 15–19 years nearly doubled, from 1.7 to 3.3 per 100,000, in part because of an increase in prescription drug overdoses
  • Childhood motor vehicle traffic–related death rates declined 41%; however, these deaths remain the leading cause of unintentional injury death in age groups 5–19 years, accounting for 67% of unintentional injury deaths and 28% of deaths from all causes among those aged 15–19 years in 2009
  • Drowning, other transportation, fire/burn, fall, and all other unintentional injuries also showed significant linear declines, whereas both suffocation and poisoning showed significant linear increases (30% and 80%, respectively)
  • Mississippi had the highest unintentional death rate for kids aged 1-19 in 2009, with 25.1 deaths per 100,000, more than twice the national average
  • Massachusetts  had the lowest unintentional death rate for kids aged 1-19 in 2009, with 4.0 deaths per 100,000
  • Delaware had the biggest decrease – its overall unintentional injury death rate decreased 51% from 2000-2009[2]

According to the CDC, unintentional injuries occurring in 2005 that resulted in death, hospitalization, or an emergency department visit cost nearly $11.5 billion in medical expenses.[3] The study also found that these injuries are preventable and effective interventions for reducing childhood injuries are less costly than the medical expenses and productivity losses associated with those injuries.[4]


[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

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